Ex Libris Kirkland

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Subtitle Expanse Book 9
First Written 2021
Genre Scifi
Origin US
Publisher Orbit
My Copy library audio
First Read January 04, 2023

Leviathan Falls

There’s this thing in scifi I refer to as the ‘they should have sent a poet’ problem. If you describe uncanny, otherworldly, non-human alien experiences in prosaic, concrete terms… you fail. Your aliens or pan-dimensional beings or numinous ETs or whatever all start sounding dumb, like you’re describing a Dr. Who villain that’s clearly a guy in a rubber mask.

SO the answer is to keep it vague! You reach for your metaphors, you describe the things sideways and in complicated adjectives but you definitely, definitely keep it abstract. That way the reader can fill in the gaps. The more otherworldly, the more awe-inspiring or dread-inducing you need to go, the more abstract you have to push.

BUT if you do this too much - the reader starts to lose the thread. Charles Williams suffers from this a lot! His mystical passages get to be pretty tough to read. I’m a fairly serious fan of the guy’s work, and find the longer bits kind of meaningless. I think this happens in Leviathan juuuust a bit too much. The big ultimate battle, the one where our hero saves the day by working with and against TWO kinds of crazy alien beings - has to go hard in this direction. Corey softens the blow by having a second character around to give us metaphors about what’s happening (“if you want to use their gun then you need to have hands in the same shape as theirs”). I don’t have a real criticism of how this could be done better - just noting that it’s a tough job.

Noted on January 13, 2023

The big final epic in a 9-book series. Goes hard into the ‘what have the aliens been up to’ for the final, and wraps up all the main characters.

Noted on January 13, 2023

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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